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Texas: Weekly Stipend Loosely Tied to Travel Does Not Make Worker Traveling Employee

November 03, 2017 (1 min read)

Where an employer paid a “field electrician” a weekly stipend of $75, but neither (a) required the employee to keep records regarding travel expenses nor (b) required the additional payment to be spent for travel, the employee would not be considered a traveling employee on that basis alone, held a Texas appellate court. The employee’s fatal injuries, sustained as he drove toward the employer’s office—and directly toward his traditional work site—did not arise out of the employment. Moreover, the mere fact that the employee had planned to drop off the time records of the employee’s team at the employer’s office on the way to the employee’s normal work site did not transform the employee’s commute into business travel. The hearing officer found that the employee was not required to deliver the records personally; he could have faxed them from the work site or given them to another employee who traveled between the work site and the office daily. While having the time records with the employee did benefit the employer, the decision to deliver the records in that particular fashion did not bring the action within the employment. The death benefits claim was barred by the going and coming rule.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Fuentes v. Texas Mut. Ins. Co., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 10243 (Nov. 1, 2017)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 14.02.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see